Kay Saatchi and Perry Rubenstein join rush to LA art scene

The former wife of Charles Saatchi, Kay Saatchi has moved to Los Angeles. She co-curated 30 exhibitions at the Saatchi gallery in London. One of her top exhibitions was Sensation, which launched several of the British YBA's (Young British Artists) in 1997. (photo W magazine)s

In the past week the LA artworld has received news that more major artworld players are moving to Los Angeles. Most recently to announce this has been powerhouse British art collector Kay Saatchi, former wife of British ad agency giant and super collector Charles Saatchi. A few days earlier the New York art press reported that venerable contemporary art and secondary market dealer Perry Rubenstein would be relocating his NYC gallery to Los Angeles. This is yet another first for the contemporary art market of Los Angeles, which has never seen a world-class New York City gallery move its entire operations to Los Angeles. Like L&M Arts, who recently expanded from their NYC base, Perry Rubenstein gallery will do both contemporary and historical art shows, the latter of which has never been part of the Los Angeles gallery scene. If Kay Saatchi does curate in Los Angeles, she would automatically become a major player on the LA scene. Should she do so and acquire a substantial showcase, this further strengthens the LA artworld as never before. Rubenstein’s 7,500 square foot space would immediately become one of the most important in Los Angeles, from scale to cultural import. It is as if the cultural infrastructure of Los Angeles is being built by the international artworld.

Kay Saatchi made the following statement regarding her move to Los Angeles:

“After twenty five years in London, I have decided to move my base to Los Angeles and to offer a selection ofworks from my art collection, partly for practical reasons and partly for the excitement and challenge of building a new collection in a new environment. It was a privilege to be in London at such a significant moment in the development of contemporary British art, and to be a part of that process, meeting and working with some of the most gifted artists, curators and collectors to emerge at that time, as well as others who were already well established. It was also a privilege to be able to live with such exceptional works of art and to get to know them all so intimately. Inevitably there is sadness in leaving a city I love and in parting with works of art I treasure. But my hope is that the move to Los Angeles will be not so much a departure as a new beginning in which I can help foster broader artistic links between London and the West Coast whilst exploring fresh opportunities as a collector and curator.”


Kay Saatchi photographed by London media at her Anticipation exhibition

The Saatchi show curated by Kay Saatchi

Here is a bit of information regarding Kay Saatchi’s move to the LA art scene:

“U.S.-born Kay Saatchi came to London in the 1980s. A former commercial gallerist, she was married to Charles Saatchi from 1990 to 2001. She is now moving to Los Angeles, Christie’s said”

“Saatchi began her career working with renowned dealer Leo Castelli. She married Charles Saatchi in 1990. She is moving to Los Angeles to pursue curatorial projects and promote a new batch of young, local talent, according to Christie’s”


And here is another body of information – the biography in brief of Kay Saatchi:

“Married to Charles Saatchi for 15 years, she co-curated over 30 shows at the Saatchi gallery.She also co-curated the controversial Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997. Sensation featured many works produced by the Young British Artists movement – or the YBAs – including those by Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin.”


Bedtime Stories exhibition at Perry Rubenstein gallery in New York

Perry Rubenstein on his move to Los Angeles in 2011:

“Los Angeles is not a sideshow anymore,” Rubenstein says of his decision to make a wholesale move to the city, which is home not only to Hollywood but also to a group of major art collectors including David Geffen, Eli Broad, Michael Ovitz, and Steve Martin.” from Artinfo.

Artinfo also reports that Rubenstein has obtained a 7,500 square foot space in Los Angeles that will open fall 2011.


PERRY RUBENSTEIN GALLERY (wHY Architecture, Los Angeles)

The signage attached to Perry Rubenstein’s Art Platform Los Angeles booth read: Perry Rubenstein Hollywood

The gallery will be on Highland avenue in Hollywood. It will be a brief walk to Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza.

Rubenstein states:

“There is greater need in Los Angeles to do historical exhibitions,” says the dealer. “And given that it is a significant part of my history it would be remiss of me not to do that.”


Rubenstein also said to Artinfo: “Los Angeles is a new center. It looks today the way New York looked compared to Paris after the war.”

This is the new narrative coming out of New York City about the LA artworld. 2011 Los Angeles is NYC 1945, when the New York artworld had taken the dominant position in art production, through the creation of Abstract Expressionism. Like New York 60 plus years ago as compared to Paris, which had 300 galleries that were open year round, Los Angeles has little cultural infrastructure as compared to the New York artworld of 2011. Yet it is Los Angeles that is perceived as having the most significant body of contemporary artists in America, if not in the entire world today.

Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles

Hostel: New York Upper West Side (201) by Vincent Johnson

Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

Diana Al Hadid exhibition at Perry Rubenstein gallery New York

5 thoughts on “Kay Saatchi and Perry Rubenstein join rush to LA art scene

  1. Kay,
    This article was brought to my attention awhile back. What a surprise as I always thought of you as rooted in London with your then new house, Phoebe, photography, friends, etc..
    I’m still in Mexico and Stockbridge, and frequently in New York and Boston, sometimes driving between the States and Mexico allowing time to see new museums, art, and friends. Europe occasionally, Switzerland last year to visit Renzo Piano’s and Mario Buotta’s Tinguely museum.
    All representing relatively classic modern art. New York fills those gaps with decidedly current work, as does Mass MOCA in North Adams.
    Still involved with architecture as well, having recently designed a school for physically and mentally handicapped children in Xilitla.

    It would be marvelous to hear from you if you so choose. There’s a long history and it does come to mind from time to time. In memory one tends to recall the best and regret and attempt to forget the rest.

    I wish you all the best success Kay,


  2. Hi Kay,
    It’s Tricia Johnson hope life is treating you well. I live in Fla. now. Daughter is in Manhattan going to school.
    all the best to you.

  3. Congratulations Kay on moving ahead and holding your head very high a great act to follow! Wish I could have known you. I love your spirit you should find a means to bottle it and send me some.

  4. Hi Kay, we were friends in middle school at Henderson Jr. I came across your article. Proud of your success. Sandy Drapp Prior. I live in Belleair Florida. My sister lives in San Francisco, Connie who was ray and anns age and went to hall hi.Would love to meet up when I’m out there sometime.

  5. Hola Kay, recibe un saludo cariñoso de quien te admira y te recuerda con mucho cariño, muy contenta al saber de ti sobre tu nueva galeria de arte en los Angeles.
    Desde Colombia, Gloria.

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